While in Los Angeles last month for the McFarland USA, Fresh Off the Boat and Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast press junkets, I had a chance to sit down with the adorable Ginnifer Goodwin who plays Fawn in the new Tinkerbell movie coming out on March 11. Ginnifer is a new mom of an adorable 9 month old boy and with our motherhood connections, she was so easy to talk and relate to.
We talked a little about how becoming a parent can completely change your life because it’s hard and glorious all at the same time. Ginnifer was still getting her feet wet as a first time mom and trying to find the perfect balance of work and baby life so I was more than grateful that she took the time to chat.
Here is some of our interview about her role as Fawn in Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast.
Q: How do you prepare differently for a voice acting role vs. something in film or television?
Ginnifer: Well this was on the job training. I was completely unaware when I signed on it was going to be so completely different. I did a little bit of voice work before, nothing major, and now I can say that I worked on this film for 3 years. But it’s entirely different because I didn’t realize until I was doing it how much I control myself when I’m doing on-camera work. You know, I can rely by the blink of an eye literally to express something especially if it’s going to be in film because my face is going to be the size of a school bus.
Suddenly, to have a project where I was relying solely on my voice, not having any idea what the animation was going to look like, was really, really challenging. I had to liberate myself. I had to find a way to let go of everything physically and find a grounded real connected place from which to be larger than life. There’s a lot of things about my own voice that I always thought were very overly animated but I found out when my voice was actually animated, that I can seem a bit dull and monotone and nasal. There’s all kinds of like harsh judgments I could give myself but in redoing the first couple of passes that we made for the movie, I found that there was a way to find Fawn’s very expressive voice when I could let go of everything physically.
Q: There was a lot of emotion at the end of the movie. How did you handle that?
Ginnifer: You know, every time I read the script, I cried my eyes out. Every time we recorded it, I cried my eyes out and every time I’ve seen it. At first I did react to it because I had a personal experience, which it’s a horrible story but I had a dog that was accidentally put to sleep by a vet. No joke, there was a lawsuit. It was crazy. They accidentally put my dog, my completely healthy dog, to sleep.
So in the beginning when we started recording it, it kept triggering that of course because like Fawn is being given an opportunity to say goodbye. But then as I played Fawn for 3 subsequent years, it did just start becoming about the scene itself and about Fawn’s relationship to Gruff. I mean, I’ve never had a problem being emotional. And everything didn’t actually come. I actually think that the sound recording they used was one of the earlier parts, at least part of the scene was from one of the earlier versions of the movie that we recorded.
Q: The characters you play always seem to find the good in people and that was definitely the message here. Is that something inherent in your personality?
Ginnifer : Oh 100% and I think that’s why I get cast the way I do. I find voice over Acting very difficult. And I would like to just do this from now on if I could. I mean, I think it’s — it’s the most exciting challenge. But I do think that I’m certainly cast for being me, absolutely.
Q: Were you familiar with the whole Disney fairies world going into this?
Ginnifer: I’m a Disneyphile. I don’t know if that’s a word, it is now. I just always wanted to voice animated features for Disney. And I was familiar with the franchise. I hadn’t seen all the movies and then like ripped through them when I got the role. I think they’re excellent! They appeal to all ages. This particular movie certainly appeals to both genders.
They’re just so well done, the stories are so well told. The characters are flawed. The morals are evolved. You know, they’re definitely messages I would want taught to my children. So yes, I was familiar with them.
Q: You mentioned that you always wanted to do a voice for Disney. Do you have an idea of what character you would like to portray?
Ginnifer : I don’t care. I would like to play a mouse in the background of a scene and be happy. I believe that Disney tells stories in the best way. I don’t think there are better storytellers than the ones in this particular company. And so I would play any role for Disney and be happy, which I told them repeatedly. I would love to share my acting future at Disney.
Q: What do your kids think about you being in this movie?
Ginnifer: Well I have a little boy who has never seen a screen in his life. He’s very young so I’m not sure if he would understand what a movie was but he won’t be exposed to this medium until he’s a little bit older. But he’s super, super, super imaginative and he’s almost 9 months old, and he reads books, and I’ve never heard of anything like it. Like he crawls over his toys to pull his books out of his bookshelf and like opens them, gets on his elbows and opens them.
Q: So what was more challenging for you on this movie?
Ginnifer: The most challenging part of it? I mean, just learning how to act all over again because I just couldn’t rely on anything that I’ve relied on before. So learning how to act just using my voice was very difficult. I would have fired me if I had only had the first couple of passes at the movie that we first did. But they were kind enough to let me try different things over and over again until we found her and now I’m very proud of it. But in the beginning I sucked.
Q : What was your favorite part of the film?
Ginnifer: I liked the last scene. The most fun I had was probably the animal noises scene just because it was so out of my wheelhouse. I was studying YouTube videos trying to learn different animals.
Q: Any future projects that you’re really interested in trying or anything coming down the path for you?
Ginnifer: I’d like to do more animation and I love making TV. People ask me a lot about TV vs. movies. And as far as live action goes, I do prefer a TV life and playing a character for a long period of time and growing and changing with her. And I also think that outside of animation, TV is the only place where people are taking risks.
Q: Did you get any liberty with the script? Did they let you improv at all?
Ginnifer: They ask you to for sure. I’m of the school that it is my job to make the words work so actually I’m not good at improving and I’m not confident improving.
Yeah, I really do like to stick to the script. I think that with too much improving, unless you’re someone like– I mean there’s clearly people who are genius at that, and it’s an art. But I think that sometimes with some of us, who aren’t as genius at it, when we start improving our characters becomes just us. I think that’s boring so I just think it’s my job to make the words work.
*Disclosure: Thanks to Disney for sending me to Los Angeles for the press junkets. As always, all thoughts, opinions and statements are my own.